A lot has been said about Texas wind and other pushes for renewable electricity generation, and solar is just as relevant a talking point. Texas is the 6th largest supplier of solar energy in the country, after all. Using that same 2018 data from the Solar Energy Industries Association, Texas ranks 2nd in the country with a projected growth of “9,115 MW over the next 5 years.”
Yes, solar energy only accounts for 1.6% according to 2018 data from the EIA, but it is one of the fastest growing means for electrical generation on the renewable energy side.
Large Companies That Are Leaning Towards Solar
To speak to just how fast solar is growing, Honda recently made the largest solar energy purchase of any automotive company: “482,000 MWh/year from a 200 MW Texas solar facility.” And according to Honda’s renewable energy goals, they plan on curbing 60% of their total fossil fuel-drive electricity usage by switching to wind and solar energy.
And speaking of giant companies getting involved with solar energy, Exxon Mobil has been highly active in the solar boom. According to NPR, Exxon will purchase their solar power from West Texas for the next 12 years as per their agreement with the Danish energy company Orsted.
As the aforementioned NPR article reminds readers, Exxon had invested in the scientific research that developed photovoltaic technology. They were not the only investors that made photovoltaic research initially happen, but they definitely helped contribute to the overall development. But because of just how inefficient and expensive the earlier cells were, they didn’t seriously pursue diversifying in solar panels until now. This is largely because of the constantly decreasing prices of solar as well as well as their efficiency.
Plummeting Prices and Wider Use
MIT states that solar panel prices have fallen by 99% in the last 40 years. The biggest explanation for the drop in price has been for one major reason: “the largest single high-level factor in the continuing cost decline has been economies of scale, as solar-cell and module manufacturing plants have become ever larger.”
My San Antonio suggests rolling with the developing solar panel market and adopting rooftop solar as a way to prevent power plants from firing during peak demand times-where electricity prices to meet the increased demand.
And although there are plenty of electrical transmission and storage challenges that are deterring solar projects, Texas solar will continue to expand along with the other renewable energy efforts.